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News from the farm: why we love raising turkeys

Good morning friends and local food eaters,

It's that time of year for us to scratch our heads and say, "It's almost Thanksgiving already?"

There are currently some big ones which are being harvested now to make turkey products for the CSA. Those of you who get an ‘everything’ share type will be getting ground turkey, turkey sausage, and smoked turkey breast in your October and November bags.

We love raising turkeys. They are curious birds, who chase after bugs and interesting weeds, which make up a large part of their diet. They will graze a field down to the ground, like sheep! They are fragile and slow growing as chicks, and need extra coddling until they are about 8 weeks old. At that point they are quite hardy, surviving cold weather and being too big for some of the usual chicken predators (rats, cats) to bother with. They are more intelligent than chickens, and their sounds when communicating with each other or when a hawk passes overhead are fascinating. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Brooks' video on Facebook of doing call and response with the turkeys.

They can be challenging to manage, as they (like some other species on this farm) don’t always stay in our assigned paddocks for them. But that problem is becoming more manageable now that we have this fence!

The truth is that these guys can fly, and they can easily hop to the top of this fence and fly over. But they soon grow to a point where they are simply too heavy to fly well, and stay put on the ground.

The herd of sheep, cows, and a few meat goats have been grazing their way across the hill behind our house. They are tiny specks on the hill here.

We timed the grazing so that they would be close by to the barn for people to see at the Farm Visiting Day.

Thank you - to everyone who braved the gray weather to come out to our farm party earlier this month; to everyone who helped us prepare for the event; and a big thank you to Josh, Jim, and everyone who participated with the butchering class. All the work to prepare for this became manageable and enjoyable with lots of hands.

Now the herd has continued its way all the way across this field, with dry sows (that’s mom pigs who don’t currently have babies) following behind the grazers.

Can you see the sheep and cows in the foreground, and the pigs following behind? (below)

We are really enjoying this change of season to cooler weather. It is more comfortable for working, and the shortening days remind us to try to get some rest.

Hope you all are enjoying the fall weather too!

Thanks for supporting local food.

Anna Santini and Brooks Miller

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